OC Moms Guide – January 2020

This post is sponsored by the Discovery Science Center.

Orange County Events JanuaryWell I don’t know about you, but I don’t plan to have a lot of plans this January other than recovering from the December holidays and trying to pack away all my decorations before the end of the month. That said, my kids will still have energy to burn as always, plus may be a little more stir-crazy than usual given the colder weather, so we’ll want to get out of the house for some fun activities. And lucky for us, Orange County manages to have a ton of neat family-focused events related to Dia de los Reyes, Martin Luther King Jr Day, Lunar New Year, and much more in what is typically a slow month on the calendar!

Orange County Events January Highlight:


orange county events January Discovery Science Center


Castle Builder at the Discovery Science Center – Santa Ana

Now through January 26, 2020

From their website: “Build Your Kingdom! This month at Discovery Cube OC, kids and families are transported to a kingdom where they become master castle builders, building their own castle brick by brick! The king and queen of the realm need a new castle and have summoned the best castle builders in the land to create a new home for their family. It takes creativity and skill to plan, build, and run a castle. Explore the world of Castle Builder to learn the planning skills necessary to build a castle able to sustain your kingdom and ward off attacks.” 

Included with general admission to the Cube. Ages 15+ $19.95, Children ages 3-14 $14.95, and Seniors ages 62+ $16.95. Children ages 2 and under are free. Check local magazines for coupons! 


More Orange County Events January 2020:


Dia De Los Reyes At Segerstrom Center For The Arts – Costa Mesa

January 5

From their website regarding one of the first Orange County events January 2020 has to offer families in our area: “Join us to welcome the Three Kings when they arrive on Argyros Plaza! Enjoy free family-friendly activities, live performances from local groups, and a special appearance from Los Reyes Magos.  Let’s celebrate this rich cultural tradition which commemorates the arrival of the Three Kings: Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar!”

Free, but you can reserve your tickets in advance by clicking the link in the header. 


Festival Of Chocolate At The Bowers Museum – Santa Ana

January 5

From their website: “Chocolate started out as the drink of Aztec nobles and is now enjoyed and cultivated around the world. Sample chocolate of all kinds while enjoying a drum circle accompanied by the Mexican indigenous music of Martin Espino. Dafra African Drums and Dance will honor one of the most important crops of the African Continent. Hear directly from world renowned “Chocolate Guru,” Lee Theisen in a special lecture on the history and politics of Chocolate.”

Free festival. General admission to Bowers Museum is also free on Festival Sundays for Members and Santa Ana residents only. *Please note that there will be a fee for the lecture and chocolate tasting. Space is limited and advanced reservations are required.


Ice Skating At The Great Park – Irvine

January 7, 14, 21, 28 (4 week session)

Did you know the Great Park has an ice rink this time of year? And that kids can take ice skating lessons there? Well it’s true. If you got the itch to skate again after hitting a rink around the holidays like I did, or if you wanted to give your kids a taste of ice skating but got buried under candy canes in December, this is your second chance! Plus, if they’ve still got energy after their ice skating session, I hear the Great Park has also recently added a kids zipline to its playground area. This is…pardon the pun…one of the chillest Orange County events January has to offer!

$75 for the 4 week session ages 7-11. For kiddos ages 3-6, click the link above to see dates/times for the more age-appropriate Snowplow class, which is available at the same price. 


Tinkergarden Winter Trial Class – Rancho Santa Margarita

January 9

From their website: “For over 7 years, we at Tinkergarten have been on a mission to spread a love of learning and nature throughout the country by offering play-based learning to kids in community parks. Join us by signing up your kids, ages 6 months to 8 years, to join in discovery-based learning. Our outdoor classes are designed to engage and inspire kids in building essential skills including empathy, collaboration, creativity, persistence, and problem solving. Our Winter session starts now. Join the movement of thousands of families learning outside together and enjoy some well-spent time with your kids.”

Free trial class. Program is $135 per student for 6 sessions and can be paid in two installments. Tinkergarden has locations all over Orange County, so please check the link above if you’re interested in a location other than RSM.


Field Science Saturday Intertidal Bioblitz at Crystal Cove – Newport Beach

January 11

From their website: “Help us learn more about our tidepools and participate in an intertidal bioblitz at Field Science Saturday on January 11th from 2 – 4 pm! We will be documenting as many species as possible in the tidepools using the iNaturalist app. To contribute data at the event, download the iNaturalist app and make an account before coming to the park.” 

Event is free and recommended for ages 8 and up. All participants under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. $15 day use fee required per vehicle. 


“Shell-ebrate” Five Years with Birch Aquarium’s Sea Turtle  – La Jolla

January 11+12

Perhaps you recall hearing on the news a few years ago about that rescued Loggerhead sea turtle whose shell was so badly damaged she had no chance of surviving in the wild until she was given the world’s first 3D printed shell prosthetic? Well, she’s been recuperating and thriving at the Birch Aquarium and all turtle lovers young and old are invited to her party! While not exactly an Orange County event January item, I feel it’s well worth the drive to San Diego county to learn more about this amazing animal and its caretakers! From their website: “The family-friendly “shell-ebration” will be a fun-filled weekend of sea turtle-themed activities, crafts, and marine reptile science. Guests are encouraged to get hands-on with sea turtle biofacts, learn about local sea turtle research, and get an insider’s look at how the aquarium’s sea turtle is target trained and cared for.”

Aquarium admission is $19.50 for adults, $15 for children ages 3 to 17. Children 2 and under are free. Includes all Turtleversary activities. 


Disneyland Resort’s Return Of Lunar New Year celebration – Anaheim

Jan 17 – February 9

It’s the Year Of The Mouse, and what better place to celebrate it than with the most famous one of all, Mickey Mouse, at Disney California Adventure park! From their website: “Join us for a vibrant, multicultural celebration brimming over with excitement to attract luck and prosperity in the new year. From January 17 to February 9, 2020, Disney California Adventure Park ushers in the Lunar New Year with a joyous tribute to Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean cultures.

Event highlights include:

  • Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession
  • Unique holiday entertainment
  • Special appearances by some popular Disney Characters—including Mickey and Minnie—dressed in colorful costumes
  • Innovative menus celebrating delicious Asian cuisine
  • Commemorative merchandise
  • Kid-friendly crafts and activities
  • Festive décor and more”

Included with the cost of a park ticket. One day one park tickets for Disney California Adventure during these dates start at $98 for kids 3-9. $104 for adults. Children 2 and under are free. Parking is additional cost. 


Pacific Symphony Presents: Opera For Kids: Elixir Of Love – Costa Mesa

January 18

From their website: “Step under the big top at our zany circus, as talented singers take the stage in a rollicking, kid-friendly version of Donizetti’s comic opera ‘The Elixir of Love.’ A fun and fascinating 45-minute concert designed especially for children 5-11. Enjoy FREE interactive activities in the lobby inspired by each concert’s theme! Featuring family-friendly arts and crafts, an instrument petting zoo, and opportunities to meet Symphony musicians, local performing groups, and more! Activities begin at 9 a.m. for 10 a.m. attendees and 12:15 p.m. for 11:30 a.m. attendees.”

Tickets start at $15.


Daniel Tiger Day! at the Children’s Museum – La Habra

January 18

From their website: “Our beloved friend Daniel Tiger will be visiting the Children’s Museum for a meet and greet! We’ll have activities throughout the Museum and a chance to meet Daniel, say hello and take a selfie with him! We’ll have fun activities throughout the Museum for a fun day of learning too!” This sounds like a fun way for little ones to meet Daniel Tiger and have an edutaining day at the Children’s Museum at the same time.

Free with Museum admission but reservation must be made in advance. CMLH Members get to Meet Daniel Tiger 1 hour before the general public. 


Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr Day At Pretend City – Irvine

January 20

From their website: “Every child is unique, and they should know that no matter how different their friend may look from them, everyone should be treated fairly. On this special day at Pretend City, we want to have an open discussion with your child about equality. Don’t miss out on this important life lesson for your child!

  • Smart Art (in the Art Studio): Peace Dove > Today in our Art Studio we will learn all about the word Peace and create a Dove of Peace handprint to encourage peaceful play at Pretend City and at home.
  • Cultural Connection (11:30am): > As children create their very own self-portrait, they will engage in discussions that show them that even though we are different in many ways (skin color, hair color, eye color, age, etc.) – everyone is special, and we have many of the same hopes, dreams and feelings on the inside.
  • Loud & Proud (3:00pm): Martin Luther King > Dr. King had a dream of peace! What is your child’s dream? After we sing-a-long to the Martin Luther King Song children will be given the opportunity to share their dream with others.”

Included with museum admission. $13.95 adults and children over 12 months. Military and their families $10.95. 


Snowfest 2020 – Lake Forest

January 25

Didn’t get enough snow over the December holidays? Here’s your second chance to enjoy a winter wonderland! From their website: “Come be a part of this annual winter event and hit the snow laden slopes at Pittsford Park! Grab the kids, the camera, and your friends and come play in the snow at this special event. Sleds and saucers will be available for you and your family to slide down Mount Pittsford. There will also be a free snow play area for kids 10 and under open during the entire event. Check out additional attractions and games at the event and bring your camera for guest appearances from a galaxy far far away.”

$7 per Sledder – Purchase wristbands IN-PERSON ONLY at the Lake Forest Recreation Center (28000 Rancho Parkway). Wristbands are for sledding only and pre-registration is required. Limited number of wristbands sold for each day and are usually sold out by the day of the event. No refunds will be given for cancellations or lost wristbands. Food, drinks, additional games and attractions are also available for an extra fee on the day of the event.

Hoag Health Center Grand Opening

January 25th

Hoag Health Center is opening a new location in Foothill Ranch that will provide the community with a clinically integrated health and wellness solution to help you attain, maintain and celebrate good health.

You’re invited to experience their new facility, meet the physicians, tour the facilities, participate in health screenings, sample health foods, learn about the Hoag Lifestyle Program and enjoy activities for the family.


This is just a sampling of family-friendly Orange County events January 2020 has to offer. We hope your new year is off to a wonderful start, and that this is your best year yet! 


Orange County Events January Pin

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Follow me on Instagram @EcoFriendlyMama, Twitter @EcoFriendlyMa, and Pinterest @EcoFriendlyMama! Though I was born and raised in New York City, I've lived in SoCal for over ten years now and am proud to call this beautiful and diverse place my home. My husband and I have a son and baby daughter (whom I was 9 months pregnant with when this photo was taken!). Prior to becoming a mommy I spent several years in feature film publicity and acquisitions for Miramax and later as the Creative Executive for Hilary Swank Productions before seguing to the music industry where I did Online Communications for the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares. In my ample pre-parenthood free time, I also freelanced as a script analyst and screenwriter. I am fortunate now to be able to devote all my time to my family, but I still love to write so am thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of this blog! I am a foodie, avid traveler, environmentalist, preschool board member, and unabashed Disney nut. I can also be found writing about green parenting and eco-conscious living on my personal website, https://ecofriendlymama.com.